How to do a 360 Virtual Tour
These are a few tips for new virtual tour photographers to get the best quality virtual tour for our clients! If you’d rather hire a professional company that already has the equipment to scan your property, contact us, and we’re here to help! Jump in & learn how to do a 360 virtual tour in the article below!
Be respectful & tidy
When you walk into a house, the first thing to do before stepping inside the house is put on shoe booties. These protect the house from you bringing dirt or debris on your shoes. Put these on before the homeowner asks you to.
Talk to the homeowner
Introduce yourself to the realtor or homeowner & ask them to show you around the house. Let them know the camera captures a 360° image of the entire line of sight. You may need to explain that if they see you crouching down or hiding, you’re not being sneaky or weird. You’re hiding from the camera. Also, let them know that they should try to stay out of the room that the camera is in.
Here’s an easy way to think about it. If you can see the camera, it can see you too!
Lights on, ceiling fans off
The more lighting, the better your virtual tour will turn out. As you’re doing the initial walkthrough, ask the owner if you can help them turn off all the ceiling fans and turn on all the lights! They will typically do it themselves, but be willing to help.
Arrange clutter / straighten up the area
If you’re online looking for a house, you don’t want to see a place that’s full of clutter.
If the property you’re doing a virtual tour of still has tenants living in it, there may be personal items, boxes, etc. That’s not a problem as long as the area is clean. It takes a little extra work, but take time to fluff the pillows on the couch, put the remotes under the coffee table, etc. so the 3D tour looks great.
Open all the curtains/blinds as long as there isn’t junk outside that makes the property look bad. In that case, leave the blinds down, but open them up a bit to let in as much light as possible. Natural light is your friend!
Start the tour
You’ll want to either start the virtual tour at the lowest floor (this may be a basement) or at the front door of the property.
The average adult height in the United States is 5 feet 4 inches for women and 5 feet 9 inches for men. In properties with very high ceilings, it’s best to set your tripod so the lense of your 3D camera is 5’6″ from the floor (eye-level).
In homes with 8′ ceilings, virtual tours look best if the lens is set at 4’6″ – 5’0″ from the floor. Remember, these cameras capture the entire area in a 360° field of view. Placing the camera centered between the top of the ceiling & the bottom of the floor creates a more aesthetically pleasing virtual tour.
Make sure the tripod is level!
Connect 360° camera to iPad or phone
Next, you’ll connect your iPad or smartphone to the 360° camera via WiFi connection as an external camera. If you’re using an Insta360 One R, the WiFi network password is 88888888
Start scanning the property
Lock the door when placing your tripod in front of it! If someone opens the door & knocks over your 360° camera, this can be a very expensive mistake! If you forget this step while learning how to do a 360 virtual tour, it can cost you thousands of dollars!
For the first image, aim the front of the 360° camera at the most attractive area. *The screen is on the opposite side of the initial image. As you move the camera for each new scan, aim the camera in the direction that shows the best field of view. This makes it easy to strip great photos from the virtual tour to provide to agents as professional listing photos.
The 360° camera does not record sound while doing a Matterport scan, so music, talking, noise, etc. won’t interfere.
Create a great Matterport 360 Virtual Tour
It takes a lot more time & effort, but over scanning the area is worth it, because the more data you have, and the more pictures you take, the easier it is for the Matterport software to create a very accurate and very detailed scan.
A viewer can navigate to any visible “Scan Point”. You can overscan the property & “hide” scan points that are not needed, but the data remains to help the virtual tour be beautiful & accurate.
Presentation / Dress code
Keep in mind, as a virtual tour photographer or Matterport technician, you’re typically being hired by a real estate agent, agency, or broker. It’s incredibly important that you represent them in the highest light because they hired you to provide a service for their customer.
Badge / name tag
In schools or government buildings, a google trusted photographer badge or name tag helps provide credibility and also may be required in professional buildings.
360 virtual tour tips
- One of the easiest ways to create a great virtual tour is to picture yourself as the home buyer and position the camera as if you were walking through the house, looking for things that would make you love the home.
- Position the camera as the pivot point where potential buyers are likely to walk. You’re not only doing a 3D virtual tour, you’ve also got to think like a photographer. A little extra effort staging the area makes a world of difference in the final product.
- If the curtains aren’t even, make them even. If the blinds are crooked, straighten them out. If there’s a trashcan open with something gross insight, cover it up with a paper towel or move the can out of camera visibility until that scan is complete.
- Take double the pictures at every doorway or break. One picture needs to be slightly inside the doorway & another scan slightly outside the doorway, just a few inches apart. This helps tell the 360 camera how to connect the two spaces.
- Hallways only need a scan at each end, and in front of doorways. Too many scan points down a hall makes it more difficult for viewers to navigate between rooms in the virtual tour.
- In smaller bathrooms, a single scan looks great.
- Remember to face the camera in the direction a user would be looking while walking up or downstairs.
- Adjust tripod with 2 shorter legs on the upper stairs & 1 leg on the lower step.
- Stay on floor 1 until leaving the floor.
- Only drop a single stair for the second stair. One step down will be the first scan of the basement level.
- Scan every 3rd or 4th step.
- Overscan stairs while on-site, so you don’t have to return to the property for a second scan!
- Stair scans pull more data, so they may take a bit longer to complete.
- Extra scans at the top & bottom will save you a return trip to the property.
- Don’t let the camera drop below the normal camera level at the bottom of the stairs, or users won’t be able to navigate between rooms at a virtual tour.
- Spiral staircases need many additional scans!
Click the tool icon & mark the mirror to prevent confusion as the camera naturally sees mirrors as either open-ended spaces or reflection.
If you can see your shadow, the 360 camera can see your shadow too, Hide far enough behind walls to hide your shadow.
Make sure fans are off, or the rendered photo will look like the fan has a blurry spot above, with a black ring around the fan. Turn ceiling fans off!
Don’t scan on top of a bed, couch, table etc. As you’re walking through the house, picture your 3D scanner as the person walking through the house.
Learn how to do a 360 virtual tour
Congratulations on taking the first steps to learn how to do a 3D virtual tour! You’re on your way to learning how to do a 360 virtual tour, now the next step is to start practicing! Do not start learning how to do a 360 virtual tour by selling yourself to a client if you aren’t confident in your abilities! A good way to practice if you’re learning how to do a 360 virtual tour is to start with friends, family & by scanning your own house.
If you’re looking for a company to provide a virtual tour of your home near Grand Junction, Colorado, contact Grand Junction 3D & we’re happy to work with you!